Tuesday, July 7, 2009

7. Deschutes Red Chair IPA

“This is one I can see being much better on tap.”

Deschutes Brewery is located in scenic and beautiful Bend, OR; they also have a brewpub in Portland, OR.

Red Chair IPA has a silky, velvety mouthfeel and a hoppy nose with a clear amber color and a nice off-white head. In terms of the beer’s flavor profile, it starts smooth and then moves to sweet with nice hop flavor and bitterness, although the hop flavors are a bit light. The overall profile almost verges on cloying, but manages to pull it off with a strong body and an intense finish. Seems less hoppy than Mirror Pond (and yes, I understand that is a contradiction, since one is a Pale Ale and the other an IPA) , and less like an IPA in terms of the overall hop presence within the beer. Towards mid-bottle there is an increased maltiness and bitterness in the aftertaste; it ends like it starts, although a bit warmer in the mouthfeel, and a bit spicier.

I generally love all of Deschutes’ offerings; I’m still wishing I could somehow manage to wrangle some more of their 20th Anniversary Wit, and every time I visit the Northwest, my favorite game is to see how much Mirror Pond Pale Ale I can find and drink on tap. While Red Chair is very drinkable, it is not one of the better offering from Deschutes, although as our opening quotes indicates, I’m betting this would be much more memorable on tap. During our sampling, Elli spent a good portion of the time mocking what she called Red Chair’s “wine-bottle-style-label.” In fact, she still uses this label as a touchstone for expressing her ire at beers that try too much to market themselves as wine. I’ll leave it up to all of you to judge the merit of her remarks (see to your right). If I was going to offer a critique of the packaging, it would be directed at the over-inflated hyperbole on the bottle. I get that the description is intended to help sell the beer, but describing a secret as “thirsting” to be discovered is a bit overly wrought, and calling Red Chair a “courageous take” can only really be described as self-serving. What, every other take is not courageous? At least the rhetoric from the website tones it back down.

From the bottle: “Some secrets just thirst to be discovered. Take Red Chair, for instance. Born from a penchant for experimentation, this courageous take on the traditional IPA offers a deliciously intense hop presence without the bitterness. It’s a locals’ favorite—but too damn good not to share.”

From the Deschutes website: “Red Chair IPA is named after the oldest operating lift at Mt. Bachelor, a classic old school double that locals flock to on fresh powder mornings. This beer has been wildly popular with our pub regulars, who always seem to know when we have hit on something special.

This IPA is a bright copper beauty with a solid head and perfect lacing that typifies Deschutes ales. It has a plush body with satiny caramel flavors derived from seven varieties of malt. Despite all of this, Red Chair is still a hop forward ale, but not in the way many have gotten used to. You will find no cloying, mouth puckering bitterness here. In its place a straight up succulent citrus punch to the nose.”

ABV: 6.4%
IBU: 55


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